Cookbook Challenge Week 1: Make it Paleo

Welcome to my menu planning and cookbook challenge for this nice and cool October.  After getting inspired from a speaker at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) a few weeks ago, I decided I need more scheduling in my life…at least in the cooking department.

First, I sprawled out my five Paleo/Primal cookbooks to see which recipe(s) I wanted from each one, but soon realized that was silly.  I honed in on Make it Paleo because I am in lurve with their photos AND recipes, which usually turn out delish.  My hubby did get me Sarah Fragoso‘s new Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, but I’m not excited like I was with her first book.  Don’t worry, I promise to do a week’s worth of recipes and let you know how they turn out.

After nailing down which book, I pulled out my trusty dry erase board and started jotting down a recipe for each day, including a side or two.  There was no real method to my madness, but I did try to find a few recipes that had some of the same ingredients and made sure to change up the meat so I wasn’t have beef back to back.  I also tried to plan it if I knew I’d be gone all day, or for mornings where we were working in the garden and could get something in the crock pot.  In the end, it looked like this:

I did try to allot for leftovers so Emma and I could have them for lunch and still have enough to pack for Josh’s lunch.  I have to say 95% of it turned out quite tasty and it was fun knowing what meal to expect the upcoming day!  So, without further ado, here is what we had (I will post them on my recipes page).

Breakfast

French Omelet

  • 1 TBSP rosemary
  • 1 TBSP thyme
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 tsp pasture butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup of sliced ham

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 5 minutes, Serves: 1

1. Mince rosemary and chop thyme (or used dried spices); set aside.

2. Heat a nonstick (or well-oiled) skillet over medium heat.

3. Whisk eggs in a bowl, and set aside.

4. Add butter to skillet. Once melted, add eggs immediately.

5. Sprinkle rosemary and thyme over eggs, add salt and pepper to taste.

6. After 1-2 minutes, add ham to center of eggs.

7. Once the edges begin to cook, fold each edge inward toward the center. Cook until desired firmness is achieved.

8. Serve with a few slivers of ham on top, garnished with extra sprigs of rosemary and thyme.

Grain-free Granola

  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped medjool dates
  • 1 cup raisins

Prep Time: 10-12 hours, Cook Time: 10-12 hours, Serves: 10

1. Soak nuts and seeds in warm water and a tablespoon of salt overnight for 10-12 hours.

2. Drain and spread onto a baking sheet.

3. Set oven temperature at 110°F, and dehydrate for 10-12 hours (if your lowest setting is higher than 110°F, leave the oven door slightly ajar).

4. Coarsely chop dehydrated nuts and place in a large bowl.

5. Mix in shredded coconut, chopped dates, and raisins.

6. Toss lightly to evenly distribute all ingredients.

7. Serve granola with unsweetened coconut milk, or coconut milk.

8. Store any excess in an airtight container.

Egg Muffins

  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • ¼ green pepper, chopped
  • ¼ red pepper, chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 18-20 minutes, Makes: 4 large muffins or 8 small muffins

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Grease the muffin tin with coconut oil (or use silicone baking cups).

3. Rinse and chop all vegetables into ¼-inch pieces.

4. Divide vegetables evenly between muffin tins.

5. Whisk the eggs, then pour into the tins, dividing it evenly.

6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir the vegetable and egg mixture briefly to evenly disperse the vegetables throughout the egg.

7. Bake the egg muffins in the over for 18-20 minutes.

Veggie Scramble

  • ½ TBSP coconut oil
  • ½ cup broccoli, chopped
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • ¼ medium green pepper, diced
  • 2-4 eggs
  • Diced avocado and cherry tomatoes for garnish

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 4-6 minutes, Serves: 1-2

1. Heat ½ TBSP of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

2. Sauté the vegetables for 3 minutes, or until tender.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs.

4. Pour the eggs over the vegetables and stir.

5. Stir frequently to scrape the eggs from the frying pan, thus “scrambling” them.

6. Season with a dash of salt and pepper, top with diced tomato and avocado.

Lunch/Dinner

Monday: Tomato Basil Soup

  • 5 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ loose cup basil leaves, sliced
  • 6 oz tomato paste (1 small can)
  • 2 tsp each of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (optional)

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 70 minutes, Serves: 6

1. Preheat oven to roast at 350°F.

2. Clean and quarter tomatoes. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Roast on baking sheet for 30 minutes.

4. In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat.

5. Sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent.

6. Add in the roasted tomatoes, and continue to sauté for 1 minute.

7. Add in 3 cups chicken stock, the basil, and tomato paste and stir continuously over medium heat until the tomato paste has dissolved into the broth.

8. Season with 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper.

9. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

10. Pour soup into a food processor, high-speed blender, or immersion blender, and puree until smooth.

11. Stir in coconut milk. Serve hot, garnished with chopped basil.

Baked Chicken Thighs

  • 4 free-range bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 40-45 minutes, Serves: 2

1. Preheat oven to bake at 425°F.

2. Rinse chicken thighs under cold water and place in a broiler pan (or cookie sheet with cooling rack on top).

3. Pat thighs dry with a paper towel.

4. Gently separate skin from thigh, without removing it completely from the corners.

5. Place shallots and garlic under the skin.

6. Sprinkle the skin with salt and pepper.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until juices run clear (at about 165° with meat thermometer).

Tuesday: Taco Salad

  • 1 lb ground bison (beef, turkey, or pork)
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • ½ of a red onion, julienned
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, skin and pit removed and chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Seasoning:

  • 1 tsp each of: smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle, and black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes, Serves: 4

1. Brown bison in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Once bison in no longer pink, top with seasonings and stir until meat is evenly coated in spices.

3. Remove seasoned meat and allow to cool slightly.

4. Rinse, dry, and prepare all vegetables.

5. Plate 2 cups lettuce per serving, and top each place with red bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, ground bison, avocado, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lemon.

Wednesday: Pulled Pork Barbecue (Easy Crock Pot Recipe)

  • 3 lb “Boston butt” pork shoulder
  • 1 fist of garlic, peeled
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • Barbecue sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 8 hours, Serves: 6-8

1. Rinse pork under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Cut slits into the entire pork shoulder and stud with cloves of garlic.

3. Place pork in crock pot and cover with chicken broth.

4. Cook pork on LOW for 8 hours.

5. While the pork is cooking, make the barbecue sauce.

6. After 8 hours of cooking, remove the pork from the crock pot, and let cool.

7. Discard thick layers of fat, connective tissue, or veins.

8. Shred pork by pulling apart the meat using two forks (it literally falls apart!).

9. Toss pork with barbecue sauce, garnish with avocado slices, and enjoy!

Thursday: BBLT • Bison, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato

  • 8 strips of bacon (2 per burger)
  • 1 lb ground bison (or beef)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • Butter lettuce

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 8-10 minutes, Serves: 4

1. Cook bacon until crispy in a skillet on medium heat, flipping as needed.

2. Remove from heat, and place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.

5. Form ground meat into 4 equal-sized burger patties.

6. Grill burgers 4-5 minutes per side.

7. Remove from grill and set aside.

8. Carefully place tomato slices on the grill (or in skillet with leftover bacon grease).

9. Grill tomato slices 3 minutes per side.

10. Remove tomatoes from grill.

11. Top the burgers with lettuce, tomato, bacon, and serve.

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tsp each: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 20-30 minutes, Serves: 4

1. Preheat oven to bake at 400°F.

2. Rinse sweet potato under cold water. Pat dry, then peel and cut into small spears.

3. Combine Cajun spices in a small bowl.

4. Drizzle sweet potato spears with olive oil to lightly coat.

5. Dust spears with the spice mix, then place on a large baking sheet (with non-stick baking mat).

6. Bake at 400°F for 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Friday: Date Night

Saturday: Pan-seared Scallops

  • 12 scallops
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prep Time: 8 minutes, Cook Time: 4 minutes, Serves: 2-4

1. Rinse scallops with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel, set aside.

2. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan.

3. Add minced shallots to coconut oil and sauté until shallots are translucent.

4. Add scallops to frying pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Sear scallops for approximately 2-3 minutes per side.

Sunday: Family dinner with friends (on the smoker)

Treats: Pistachio Bark

  • 1 cup Pistachios, Roasted and Salted
  • 12 oz Dark Chocolate Chips

1. Melt chocolate slowly in a double boiler on low heat.

2. When fully melted, remove from heat and stir in pistachios.

3. Pour onto parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid.

4. Break into chunks and serve.

Note–Store in the freezer before serving. Pistachio bark is best when chilled and crisp.

Coconut Fudge

  • 1 cup coconut butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, organic
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup, Grade B

1. Melt coconut butter by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.

2. Mix all ingredients together until smoothly blended.

3. Place in a medium-sized Tupperware container lined with wax paper.

4. Pat mixture to a flat, consistent layer.

5. Refrigerate until firm, then serve.

There you have it, a week’s worth of yummy, healthy, and easy recipes all at your fingertips.  No more excuses of not knowing where to start and what to eat.  It’s in the grocery bag baby!

Are you a menu planner?  Do you know what you’re having the month in advance or do you scramble eggs at the last-minute and throw something together (like me)?  My hope in posting this, is that it will keep me inspired to at least know a week at a time what’s for dinner.  Who knows, maybe that will help me to keep my sanity.

Up next is Paleo Comfort Foods…stay tuned!

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6 thoughts on “Cookbook Challenge Week 1: Make it Paleo

  1. Jeff and I used to set a menu for the week and base the grocery list off of it. He really likes that idea but our schedules have been off lately so it’s been impossible to do that. Anyway he made a comment about your menu board and said some of the food on there even sounded good. He’s a little bit crunchy and doesn’t even know it!!!

  2. I plan a breakfast “meal” once or twice a week and then dinner 3-4 times a week. Which is a lot for me because I’m not much of a cook. I did make the same pulled pork bbq last week and it was delish. Egg muffins are on my menu this week. Have you tried making a batch of them and warming them up? How did they taste?

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